Poetry Friday: What to Remember When Waking

This picture, taken at the Highlights Foundation last year, popped up in my Facebook feed this morning:

What a magical few days I had there, spending time with Rebecca, Georgia and so many other Poetry Friday friends! It made me realize how far I’ve drifted from my poetry practice and how much I miss it. In “What to Remember When Waking,” David Whyte asks “What shape waits in the seed of you/to grow and spread its branches/against a future sky?” I love the endless possibilities contained in this question. With renewed resolve, I can’t wait to find out.

“What to Remember When Waking”
by David Whyte

In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.

You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.

Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?

Read the rest of the poem here.

Please be sure to visit Michelle Heidenrich Barnes at Today’s Little Ditty for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

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12 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: What to Remember When Waking

  1. Good morning, Catherine – thank you fr sharing such a beautiful poem. It was just the gift I needed to begin my day. I love David Whyte… simply stirs my soul. I spent a “Week at the Barn” in July; what a magical place; it truly was the “highlight” of my summer, yet I still haven’t written about it (lingering health issues in our family took center stage). I have so many favorite lines, but this one resonates deeply, “What shape waits in the seed of you to grow and spread its branches against a future sky?” Thank you for this gentle reminder to resume my morning writing and reflection. It’s the only way back.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am going back, and wish you were, too, Catherine. I love this, and oh, that final line. The poem caught us there, didn’t it? Our lives fill up with many things, and good ones, but that white page still waits. Best wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s time to get back to the blank page, to remember that it is there waiting for us. I love this poem for its richness and for reminding me that in that fresh start each morning, there is newness and life.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was struck by the same line Tara mentioned – thanks for sharing this poem today! AND, I had one of those FB pix show up, too, and it so made me miss being with you all… looking forward to our real, as well as virtual, paths crossing again! XO

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, Catherine….what a poem. This one is a keeper. I would like to read this each morning before I write. Thank you for sharing it. I would so love to meet up with other poets at Highlights. It would be such a fun and productive time, I think. What a great way to start my Sunday….reading your post.

    Liked by 1 person

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